It isn’t a secret at this point that Apple has a focus on security for its users, and it extends now to how third-party apps access an individual user’s contacts database.
Bloomberg is reporting on Tuesday that Apple has made a specific change to the App Store submission guidelines that now restricts an app’s ability to access a user’s contacts database. Basically, up to this point, developers have been able to ask for permission to access a user’s contact list, and then they could use that information for a variety of purposes, including marketing and selling that information.
“Developers ask users for access to their phone contacts, then use it for marketing and sometimes share or sell the information — without permission from the other people listed on those digital address books. On both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, the world’s largest smartphone operating systems, the tactic is sometimes used to juice growth and make money.”
Contact sharing is already present in iOS, but it’s an opt-in situation. Once you opt-in, though, the restrictions weren’t all that tight. That’s changing with this latest update to the App Store, however, as Apple has decided to crack down on harvesting that data from iOS devices.
It’s an important change, but it’s hard to argue that it isn’t late arriving. For as many iOS users there are out there, there isn’t a way for Apple to go back and retroactively obtain the information developers have already picked up.